Modern sailing clothing is waterproof and breathable. In order for it to stay that way, it must not be washed, according to popular belief. In most cases this is a misunderstanding - in order to maintain breathability, all manufacturers now recommend washing your clothes from time to time.
It is of course less about externally visible dirt or mustiness, these can rarely be completely removed; rather, the inner workings benefit from the wash cycle. Because: Weatherproof sailing clothing consists of multi-layer materials.
Oilskin consists of layers and membranes
The outer layer ensures the mechanical strength of the textile, but is neither waterproof nor airtight. These functions are performed by an internally applied hydrophilic coating or a hydrophilic or microporous membrane, depending on the area in which the clothing is used. Both systems work according to different physical principles, but ensure that no liquid water can penetrate, but that water vapor can be transported to the outside.
Without regular cleaning, salt and grease settle on the inside and can reduce breathability to almost zero. In the worst case, the inner layer will be damaged, which can cause the clothing to leak. Goretex jackets and co. Must also be washed regularly, since skin and hair oil in particular, but also residues from sun lotion, creams and make-up can develop a harmful effect over time. How and when to clean depends on the use, the material and personal hygiene.